Monthly Archives: July 2009

Gone Fishin’

I’m off on vacation for about ten days.  I may not have an opportunity to post during this time and will most likely not have contact with the rest of the WoWenomics team regardless (which is the vacation part of the vacation no doubt).  At any rate, you might enjoy looking over a few of our older posts during our absence.

Here, in no particular order, are a few of my personal favorites:

Enjoy the reads and be sure to also check the comments if the subject interests you.  Quite often the comments take the discussion to the next level.

And don’t forget to cast your vote as to what you’d most like us to focus on upon our return.

We’ll see you in a week or two after some sunshine and copious amounts of beer.

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Announcing Focus Week

Upon our return from vacation we  will be conducting one week of focused WoWenomic analysis.  This poll is your chance to vote on what sort of posts you are most interested in reading for the week.  During this time we will focus exclusively on the types of posts chosen by our readers.

Your choices are as follows:

  • Data and Analysis- detailed graphs and charts and studies of trends in the WoW economy
  • Gold Making Tips- tips and advice for building in-game wealth
  • Commentary- commentary and analysis of economic trends as pertains to WoW
  • Wall Street Stories- stories and discussion of life in the business world with some overlap in the WoW economy 

Cast your vote below and we will dedicate the week the the winning theme upon our return from vacation

 

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The Pitchman

The recent passing of legendary pitchmen Billy Mays and Ed McMahon got us thinking about the pitchmen of WoW. “WTS [item]” is the /trade chat standard but so much more can be done with this message depending on what your selling goals are.

Name Your Price

In WoW, many people do just fine with a “WTS _____” message in /trade but this simple message leaves room for inefficiencies in trading. First of all, how many people are just going to buy the item without asking the price? This means that before you can even think of exchanging gold, another player will have to message you inquiring as to your price. Worse, some sellers take this logic a step further by responding, “Well what do you want to pay?” Surely there is a price point that is too low, and surely there is a price at which you want to sell it. So just say the price in your advertisement and move on. Yes, you may squeeze a few more gold out of some sucker who might pay more than your asking price, but why waste the time of responding to the majority of buyers who will go back and forth asking about the price and accusing you of charging too much. The exception to this is when you are trying to sell an extremely rare item, as there may not be an established market (and thus price) for the item yet. But if all you’re trying to do is sell a few eternals, or yet another crafted blue item, just state your price.

We’re not saying to not negotiate. Price negotiation is a separate, and valid, issue. What we are saying, is that there are many players who will be turned off by your lack of listing an offering price. Ever see a used car with a ‘For Sale’ sign in the window and a phone number but no price? Want to know why people don’t list their price on cars like that? Because they know the price is probably higher than what most buyers will pay. They also know that if they could only get you on the phone and asking about the vehicle (and consequently showing that you have interest), then they have a better chance of explaining the higher price to you. We highly doubt your stack of Eternal Fires has custom racing rims or that they were driven only on Sundays.

What’s Your Pitch?

In the world of finance, entrepreneurs are expected to be able to summarize their business plans in a succinct format often called an elevator pitch. Now, if you developed such a pitch to offload your eternals most people would think you’re crazy, but it does help to think about your message before you start seeking buyers. This is mostly true if you’re a regular seller of a particular item, or set of items, and you want your selling toon to be associated with this market in the mind of the buyer.

You might even consider developing a text macro for items you sell regularly. We’ve seen people saying things like “Jed’s Eternal Fire Store- We bring the heat!” While ridiculous, these adverts are memorable. In fact, in discussing this matter with the WoWenomics team, every single member could identify the name of a toon on their server that regularly advertised a specific good or service in a funny or goofy way. That is what we call branding and it is a powerful message that resonates with consumers- sometimes even long after the product is gone. To wit, there are many people who, to this day, if we were to say “…Our prices are Insane!” will know exactly what store we are talking about. On a wider scale, if we were to say, “I’m lovin’ it” more people would associate the song with McDonalds than they would with the original artist.

Use It Wisely

Again, perhaps not the most rational approach to selling in WoW, but if you want buyers to come to you even when you’re not advertising, it is one way to go. Perhaps, as a cautionary note, we should also add that there is a very fine line between funny and annoying, so use your message sparingly and don’t spam /trade repeatedly. It may also pay to test it out on a trial audience that is not your mom (who thinks all your jokes are funny) prior to broadcasting to the community at large.

Timing is Everything

Also, think about your timing. Generally speaking, the servers are busiest during the evening and weekend hours. If you’re having trouble getting responses to your pitch it may not be entirely the fault of your approach, but rather the timing of your delivery. Try again when there is a different population pool on-line.

Adapt as Needed

Your pitch may not work initially. It may be bad timing or even bad humor. Keep trying, be innovative and always keep in mind that a good marketer is dynamic and able to adapt to the situation at hand.

…And That Other Guy

We almost feel remiss not to mention the most notorious of the lot when talking about legendary pitchmen who have recently passed. We feel, however, at this point it has become this kind of a situation.

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The Loot Council- Patch 3.2 and Other Good Reads

The Loot Council is regular column highlighting interesting and informative posts from around the WoW finance blogosphere.

Here is a quick selection of interesting WoW finance articles from around the web over the past few weeks:

  • Right off the bat, we’d like to give a shout out to Warcraft Econ. They’ve got some great information posted regarding coming changes to professions in patch 3.2. There are at least five good pertinent articles over there, so it is hard to pick just one, but our personal favorite so far is probably the comprehensive look at epic gem stats and transmute requirements. Be sure to give the whole site a look though, as they’ve really got some amazing stuff up regarding inbound changes to the economy.
  • One of the things mentioned by Warcraft Econ is the prospecting rate of Titanium on the PTR. Kaliope did some testing of her own and the two articles together present a pretty clear picture of what Jewelcrafters should expect from the ore.
  • There is further interesting information regarding 3.2 profession changes over at WoW.com from Insider Trader. This time, as relates to engineering and Alchemist transmutations.
  • Speaking of patch 3.2, our friends over at the Armory Data Mining project announced that they would begin tracking hunter pet stats shortly after the release of the patch. We can’t wait!
  • Alterac Volley posted a great gold-making tip using the old cheap-craft-for-purpose-of-D/E trick.
  • On the matter of old tricks, Dominate Your Server posted a good one on inflating prices.
  • Tobold’s done a nice analysis of various MMO economies. How they differ and how they might be further improved.
  • This week we bid a fond, but unfortunate, farewell to the short-lived AH Trading, Simplified blog. Best of luck to ya!

Going over to the RL side of things here are a few other interesting finds for you:

  • The NPC comic crew has a good take on the people behind those WoW subscriber numbers.
  • If your driveway looks anything like this, it is safe to say that you’ve reached the real life gold cap.
  • [Very NSFW warning] And finally, this article from playboy.com is almost too over the top to be real, but it is an interesting read nonetheless. We’ve all seen traders behave in this sort of fashion so it is at least plausible anyway. NSFW Reminder: Just like your significant other, your work IT admins and supervisors will not believe the “I swear I visited it for the articles” excuse.

Note that the above blogs are not listed in any particular order outside of the way the team brainstormed them. Please let us know if there are any sites that you feel we should feature and we will do so in a future edition of The Loot Council.

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The Secondary Market of Titanium

As we discussed a few days ago, Titanium Ore prices are at an all time high. As a result, the going rate for Titanium Bars is also experiencing a surge.

The WoWenomics team was discussing this price spike the other night when the conversation took an interesting turn. Our resident enchanting expert mentioned that he is seeing some benefit from the Titanium rush as it has allowed him to double his normal price for the vellums of Enchant Cloak- Titanweave that he regularly sells. He usually stocked about 20 Titanium Bars of which the enchant only requires two so he is still working off his stock but even if he had to purchase the bars at the AH at today’s high prices he would still be reaping a hefty profit. He presumes that players are willing to pay the higher prices because they assume that his costs for materials must have skyrocketed so the premium must be fair. The high Titanium prices, he says, also have the additional benefit of driving away competing enchanters who are, apparently, hesitant to spend the gold on the inflated Titanium thus further allowing him to dominate the market.

This revelation prompted our Blacksmith to speak up and say that he’s doubled the fee he requests for selling his Titansteel Bar cooldown to 30 gold. He told us that other blacksmiths will do it for less, and some potential customers balk at the higher price, but that he still sells the cooldown on any night he wishes to do so without too much effort. He is also making money from crafting and selling Titanium Rods and shield spikes at inflated prices and further reported a sharp decrease in the amount of competitors in both markets.

The engineer says his Titanium built items are also up in price although he didn’t have the foresight to stockpile the ore or bars so he only makes them from the mats he farms. But when he does the prices that he asks are higher and competition is also down.

Both of our jewelcrafters reported similar findings on Titanium related items in their markets.

Even our resident alchemist is reporting that he is once again finding it highly profitable to blow his twenty-hour cooldown on Transmute: Titanium instead of another transmute.

The point is that with the higher prices comes opportunity in many forms. Look for opportunities to profit off inflated Titanium prices in your own market and thus benefit even if you’re not a miner. If you’re unsure how Titanium might affect you take a look at the comprehensive crafted items list courtesy of WoWhead.

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Maximizing Exploration Profit

Although we’ve mentioned this sort of thing before it is worth mentioning again, given the goals of the current WoW world event, that there is significant profit to be made from traveling the zones of WoW. Many vendors around the world sell various items and recipes that can be resold for a hefty profit in your faction’s auction house. As you make your way through old world areas, be sure to stop by the vendors of each area and purchase the things that can be resold with a markup. Cooking recipes are particularly profitable these days as many more players are cooking than there were previously and a large amount of these players leveled cooking after they were already experience level cap and thus may have missed key purchasable recipes along the way.

A few key profitable vendors to watch out for are:

Don’t forget to, where possible, purchase multiple recipes or items and mail them to your AH alt for reselling over the long term. Don’t crash the market and post them all at once. Rather, extend your current business by slowly bleeding these into the market one or two at a time and reaping a nice profit over the long term. Making money this way is particularly attractive because the tricks above require no specific skills or professions and can be done as you travel along completing other quests or goals.

Bonus- Here are two handy BoE recipe guides:

Book of Warcraft
Blizzard Guides

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